The mission of Brown’s Corner is to provide student athletes in Chester and Lancaster Counties (SC) the myriad tools necessary to succeed in their adult lives outside of athletics. Brown’s Corner works with middle and high school aged students (and their families) with an emphasis on college preparation, financial literacy and the importance of increased family participation. Brown’s Corner has created strong partnerships with community leaders, schools, financial institutions and other nonprofit organizations to ensure a full array of wrap-around services and continuity of support in the lives of the students it serves.
The impetus for Brown’s Corner, is the personal story of its founder, Sheldon Brown. Sheldon was raised in a two parent home and enjoyed a close relationship with his parents. Yet, he speaks of having four guidance counselors over the course of four years of high school and parents who were not particularly engaged in his academics. After being recruited to USC to play ball, and receiving a diploma from Lewisville High School, he was told by the NCAA that he did not take a specific 9th grade science class he needed. He had to defer college and his dream one year to complete the course. Lucky for him, he was an incredible stand-out and was given a second chance. As he moved into the NFL, he was surrounded by men with fancy homes, flashy cars, big homes and was horrified to learn that many of those men cannot write a check or do their own banking. Again, these men are blessed with financial advisors who will handle those responsibilities. The problem with Sheldon’s story is that most students do not perform athletically at such a high level and are not afforded the second chances and the group of advisors to help them along the way.
To be sure Sheldon’s story was not specific to him he met with many people from within the community who discussed the same issues of over burdened guidance counselors, a lack of engaged parents, and stories of people driving to the various utility companies to pay their bills in cash. Sheldon Brown is in a unique position to identify what is needed. He grew up in the area and moved back to the same area. He has a large network of high net worth individuals and an equally large network of people who did not attend college, have been underemployed and are virtually financially illiterate. He sees the cycle continue and has the reach to do something to break that cycle and the trust within the community to do so successfully.
The process of creating Brown’s Corner has involved many others. Brown’s Corner representatives have met with several principals, coaches, parents, business owners, city and town administrators, law enforcement, nonprofit organizations, higher education educators and funders.